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Folktales

Choctaw creation myth

by Beth Cagle

The Choctaw who remain in Mississippi tell this story as an explanation of how they came to the land where they live now and of how Naniah Waiya Mound came to be. Two brothers, Chata and Chicksah led the original people from a land in the far west that had ceased to prosper.

The people traveled for a long time, guided by a magical pole. Each night, when the people stopped to camp, the pole was placed in the ground and in the morning the people would travel in the direction in which the pole leaned.

After traveling for an extremely long time, they finally came to a place where the pole remained upright. In this place, they laid to rest the bones of their ancestors, which they had carried in buffalo sacks from the original land in the west. The mound grew out of that great burial. After the burial, the brothers discovered that the land could not support all the people.

Chicksah took half the people and departed to the North and eventually became the Chickasaw tribe. Chatah and the others remained near the mound and are now known as the Choctaw. The elders of the tribe claim to this day that the ground near the mound and the cave are sacred and that they will fall ill and die if they are away from the land too long.


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